Baseball Tabbed as Preseason SAC Favorite, Five Named Preseason All-SAC


ROCK HILL, S.C. ( -- Catawba has been chosen as the preseason favorite in the South Atlantic Conference’s annual baseball preseason poll, as voted by the league’s head coaches.  It was announced on Wednesday by the league office which also released the preseason All-SAC teams.  The Catawba Indians grabbed five spots on the preseason first team and one on the second team.

Craig Brooks (Monroe, N.C./Parkwood HS) was selected to a pair of spots on the preseason first team, named at pitcher and shortstop.  The senior was the league and region Pitcher of the Year last season after posting a 12-3 record with a 2.32 ERA.  He batted .336 with a pair of homers and 20 RBI.

Joining Brooks on the on the first team are senior designated hitter T.J. Wharton (Lutz, Fla./Bishop McLaughlin HS/Guilford Tech), sophomore pitcher Shaefer Shepard (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton HS/Francis Marion) and senior relief pitcher Ryan McClintock (Matthews, N.C./Providence HS).

Wharton batted .298 last year with team highs in both home runs (10) and RBI (57).  Shepard was named the SAC Freshman of the Year, compiling a 7-3 record with a league-low 1.46 ERA.  McClintock notched eight saves in 2014 with a 4-0 record and a 2.20 ERA.

Senior outfield Blake Houston (Mt. Ulla, N.C./S. Rowan HS) was named preseason second team.  He started all 55 games last year in centerfield, batting .323 with four homers, 11 doubles and 19 stolen bases.

The Indians picked up nine first-place votes from the panel and 119 points.  Wingate finished second in the poll as the Bulldogs notched one top-bid and 109 points.  Tusculum finished up the top three with one first-place vote and 95 points. 

The South Atlantic Conference baseball season gets underway on Friday, Jan. 30.  Catawba begins its season on Saturday at Belmont Abbey then hosts the Crusaders on Sunday for a 2 pm doubleheader at Newman Park.

The 2015 South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship will take place April 23-27 at McNair Field in Forest City, N.C.

SAC preseason coaches poll
1.     Catawba (9), 119
2.     Wingate (1), 109
3.     Tusculum (1), 95
4.     Newberry, 94
5.     Lincoln Memorial, 93
6.     Carson-Newman, 72
7.     Anderson, 58
8.     Lenoir-Rhyne, 57
9.     Mars Hill, 49
10.  Coker, 45
11.  Brevard, 34

All-SAC First Team
C – Josh Clark, Wingate
1B – Steven Cooper, Anderson
2B – Brantley Rumford, Lenoir-Rhyne
SS – Craig Brooks, Catawba
3B – Albert Baur, Newberry
OF – Ivan Vieitez, Lenoir-Rhyne
OF – Bo Ausmus, Carson-Newman
OF – Thomas Spitz, Wingate
DH – T.J. Wharton, Catawba
SP – Craig Brooks, Catawba
SP – Wesley Camp, Newberry
SP – Shaefer Shepard, Catawba
RP – Ryan McClintock, Catawba
All-SAC Second Team
C – Kyle Floyd, Lincoln Memorial
1B – Kelvin Brito, Lincoln Memorial
2B – Vinny Ferrara, Tusculum
2B – Jean Rodriguez, Lincoln Memorial
SS – Evan Rogers, Mars Hill
3B – John Topoleski, Tusculum
OF – Blake Houston, Catawba
OF – Alex Kirby, Newberry
OF – Johnathan Lowe, Lincoln Memorial
DH – Cody Andreychuk, Tusculum
SP – Cole Cromer, Newberry
SP – Caleb Edwards, Mars Hill
SP – Brandon Donahue, Wingate
RP – Daniel Nations, Newberry

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